Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is spitting the company line regarding the offensive issues in a 16-8 season-opening loss to the Carolina Panthers.
He said they had more to do with penalties and miscues that kept them behind the chains rather a failure of the coaches, the offensive changes made in the offseason or a continued decline in play from quarterback Dak Prescott.
“We started off with some run-pass option that we worked on in the off-season pretty extensively,” Jones said on his radio show on KRLD FM. “We started that off. We were doing a good job of making mistakes and stopping the opportunity to run what we wanted to run. In other words, our mistakes dictated us having to really adjust what we might have been doing in going down the field. Now, that really is kind of a generic statement. But I felt at any time I looked at particular match-ups out there when I watched the game. I looked for what we’re doing. I didn’t see Dak having any issues with what he was doing, what he was doing relative to looking down field. I saw a behind-the-chains Dak that can compromise any quarterback.”
Prescott completed 19 of 29 passes for only 170 yards and finished with an 81.1 quarterback rating. He passed for under 200 yards for the seventh time in the past nine games.
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Prescott was admittedly off with his passes he missed a number of wide open receivers, none bigger than an under throw to tight end Blake Jarwin in the second quarter who was running alone behind the secondary.
Jones acknowledges that the receivers did get open but didn’t get the ball.
He said he has no long-term concerns about Prescott’s accuracy issues or missing open receivers because he has seen him do it before.
“Well, not from a standpoint of long haul,” Jones said when asked if he was worried about Prescott’s accuracy. “He had a couple of throws there the other day that, if you really analyze them, you can see he was in a little of no man’s land. Maybe he could have tucked it up and got the first down, or when he threw it to [Blake] Jarwin. And that’s not enough in any way to start getting concerned about frankly the next game, the next season. You see him in practice. You see him in the past. You see him do those things. There’s an old adage at looking and evaluating a player. If you’ve seen them do it a few times, they can do it, if you’ve seen them do it.”
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett echoed Jones about Prescott’s history and work ethic while blaming many of his woes against Carolina on the pass rush and not being able to set his feet under duress.
Prescott was sacked six times in the game.
“I know this, [Prescott] is going to come in and work hard,” Garrett said. “Whatever it is, we’ll get locked in on and he’ll focus on improving it and hopefully will be better next week.”
Jones said one way he hopes Prescott gets better is to make more plays with his feet, similar to Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, who gashed the Cowboys for 58 yards on the ground.
Jones said Prescott is a cross between Newton and Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff.
“I think we have some dimension in Dak that in him being able to run the ball,” Jones said “You saw what Cam Newton does with that. [Carolina offensive coordinator] Norv Turner, who is as traditional, can be as traditional a play-caller as you can ever imagine was doing a great job of using Cam. You really, if you look, you can see what most teams do on each side of the ball in every game you watch. And I’m not saying everybody does the same thing, but I’m saying you can see parts of what you do. We’ve got a quarterback that is someone that is between the one you saw with the Rams last night and Cam Newton. He can do some of what both of those guys can do. You’re going to see it.”